TB Patient to Fellow Airline Passengers… "Sorry Guys"
“I’ve lived in this state of constant fear and anxiety and exhaustion for a week now, and to think that someone else is now feeling that, I wouldn’t want anyone to feel that way. It’s awful.”
Tuberculosis Patient & International Traveler
Roaming TB Patient… “Sorry!”
In this image taken from video and released by ABC, tuberculosis patient Andrew Speaker meets with ‘Good Morning America’ co-host Diane Sawyer at the National Jewish Research Center in Denver, Colo., where Speaker is receiving treatment. Speaker, who is quarantined at the hospital, is the first infected person to be quarantined by the U.S. government since 1963. (AP Photo/ABC)
The roaming TB patient is sorry, very sorry, if he may have infected anyone while he was traveling internationally this past month.
The AP reported:
An Atlanta attorney quarantined with a dangerous strain of tuberculosis apologized to his fellow plane passengers in an interview aired Friday, and insisted he was told he wasn’t contagious or a threat to anyone.
“I’ve lived in this state of constant fear and anxiety and exhaustion for a week now, and to think that someone else is now feeling that, I wouldn’t want anyone to feel that way. It’s awful,” Andrew Speaker told ABC’s “Good Morning America” from his hospital room in Denver.
Sitting in street clothes but speaking through a face mask, he repeatedly apologized to the dozens of airline passengers and crew members now anxiously awaiting their own test results because of the exposure to him.
“I don’t expect for people to ever forgive me. I just hope that they understand that I truly never meant to put them in harm,” he said, his voice cracking.
Speaker, 31, said he, his doctors and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention all knew he had TB before he flew to Europe for his wedding and honeymoon last month. But he said he was advised that he wasn’t contagious or a danger to anyone. Officials said they would rather he didn’t fly but no one ordered him not to, he said.
He said his father, also a lawyer, taped that meeting.
“My father said, ‘OK, now are you saying, prefer not to go on the trip because he’s a risk to anybody, or are you simply saying that to cover yourself?’ And they said, we have to tell you that to cover ourself, but he’s not a risk.”
Dr. Steven Katkowsky, director of the Fulton County Department of Health & Wellness, said he was told in early May not to travel to Europe: “He was told traveling is against medical advice.” Dr. Martin Cetron, director of the CDC’s division of global migration and quarantine, said once Speaker was in Europe, “He was told in no uncertain terms not to take a flight back.”
The ACLU is of course objecting to his confining contageous patients.
His rights to roam are being trampled upon.
Many illegals entering this country have tuberculosis, according to the report.
“That disease had largely disappeared from America, thanks to excellent hygiene and powerful modern drugs such as isoniazid and rifampin,” says the report. “TB’s swift, deadly return now is lethal for about 60 percent of those infected because of new Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis. Until recently MDR-TB was endemic to Mexico. This Mycobacterium tuberculosis is resistant to at least two major anti-tubercular drugs. Ordinary TB usually is cured in six months with four drugs that cost about $2,000. MDR-TB takes 24 months with many expensive drugs that cost around $250,000 with toxic side effects. Each illegal with MDR-TB coughs and infects 10 to 30 people, who will not show symptoms immediately. Latent disease explodes later.
TB was virtually absent in Virginia until in 2002, when it spiked a 17 percent increase, but Prince William County, just south of Washington, D.C., had a much larger rise of 188 percent. Public health officials blamed immigrants. In 2001 the Indiana School of Medicine studied an outbreak of MDR-TB, and traced it to Mexican illegal aliens. The Queens, New York, health department attributed 81 percent of new TB cases in 2001 to immigrants. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ascribed 42 percent of all new TB cases to ‘foreign born’ people who have up to eight times higher incidences apparently, 66 percent of all TB cases coming to America originate in Mexico, the Philippines and Vietnam.”
Robert has more on the father-in-law who works at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta in the comments below.